Fitness 5 Fit Tips for Returning to Fitness after the Holiday Hiatus By Sports Medicine, March 14, 2015 The holidays are often a time of indulgence. With all the holiday parties and seasonal food around, it can be hard to stay on track with diet and exercise. If you’ve fallen out of your fitness routine this holiday season, you’re not alone. The experts at UPMC Sports Medicine have compiled the following tips to help you get back on track. Tip 1: Take it Slow After a hiatus from exercise, the body naturally deconditions itself. Regardless of the intensity of your previous workout regimes, remember that it will take time to get back into working out after any break. Don’t push too hard from the start because you will risk injury. Instead, reinstate your workouts slowly. Begin with shorter and lighter exercises, increasing time and intensity in small increments when you feel ready. Tip 2: Alter Your Diet in Addition to Exercise While family obligations this time of year make it hard to find time to hit the gym, the holidays usually make it more difficult to stick to a healthy diet. When preparing to get back into your fitness routine, don’t forget to return to fueling your body properly. You will need proper nutrients to help get your body back in shape. Focus on staying hydrated and adding good carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into your diet. After a workout, eat or drink something within 15 minutes to refuel. Tip 3: Set Goals Making goals for yourself can help you stay on track as you get back in the swing of working out and eating right. Set a series of small, attainable goals, this can help keep up your fitness momentum and motivation. When you meet a goal, reward yourself with a rest day or fun surprise to avoid overexerting yourself. Tip 4: Stretch Properly Stretching, especially when returning from a period of inactivity, is crucial to avoid injury when working out. Taking 10 to 15 minutes before your workout to stretch can not only help you avoid injury but also maximize your performance. After periods of inactivity, muscles are often tighter than usual. Stretching is a great way to loosen up your muscles before a workout. Tip 5: Listen to Your Body As always, success in fitness depends upon knowing and respecting your body’s limits. When trying to get back in shape, pay close attention to how your body responds to exercise. If you experience strains or sprains or even a stress fracture, seek medical evaluation prior to continuing to work out. Inappropriate management or assessment of injuries can lead to a more severe injury, a longer recovery, and problems in the future. Before beginning a new fitness routine or even resuming one after a long break, check with your doctor to be sure you are aware of any personal risk factors or learn more tips. Learn more about the medical services at UPMC Sports Medicine or call 1-855-93-SPORT(77678) to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.